This article is contributed by guest writer, David G. (Creator of Horsezz).
Can Dogs Get Along with Horses?
The unusual friendship between animals is a phenomenon that most of us have witnessed. Cats and parrots, dogs and cats, hamsters and rats – the bond between these species are spellbinding. And how about dogs and horses? Canines are excellent companions for humans, as well as equines. So, is the friendship between these creatures real?
Despite horses may seem intimidating and inaccessible, they do express friendliness to other animals. They are even believed to understand others’ “language.” Thus, equines can make friends with animals they live together with.
Let’s get the hang of the intelligence and behavior of canines and equines. This will help us understand how these species can interact with each other in a friendly way.
Who wins the battle of wits?
No doubt, dogs and horses are smart animals. That’s why it’s hard to tell who is more quick-witted. But both of the species stand out with particular features. People take advantage of these features to bring up their loyal companions. Some trainers know how to work with both dogs and horses because of their common behavior.
Both canines and equines are deemed as empathetic species. They are capable of recognizing human emotions through facial expressions. Dogs and horses can “read” your feelings and react respectively. That’s why people have been keeping such animals as pets for decades. We feel comfortable talking to our tailed fellows and sharing our secrets.
Dogs can feel the change of human facial expressions and interpret our emotions. The pawed friends understand when we’re in a good mood or feeling angry. Besides, researchers claim that the canines’ brain activity is scaling up when they meet their owners.
Horses can feel our emotions and read facial expressions too. They can differentiate between positive and negative emotions. Equines may react in various ways when their owner seems happy or irritated. Moreover, the horse’s heart rate is escalating when they feel the human is angry. That’s why it’s not recommended to approach your horse when you’re in a bad mood.
As dogs and horses are quite intelligent creatures, they’re able to learn new skills. And most of their learning is based on social modeling. The species understand the importance of socializing and keeping each other safe.
Dogs’ ancestors – wolves – are pack animals. They hunt in a group, travel, and live together. Horses are herd animals. Wild horses tend to watch each other when sleeping. While one part of the herd is napping, another is guarding their fellows.
Therefore, dogs and horses have been improving their social skills for long. Although equines are prey animals and canines are predators, both are quite outgoing. Now, these creatures are living peacefully due to domestication. That’s why we may presume dogs can get along with horses.
Dogs are known for their outstanding associative memory. They have excellent long-term memory based on association. Among the five senses, smell is a supreme one. Canines can detect olfactory markers everywhere. Even if people think something is odorless, this can be not true to dogs.
Horses stand out with their long-term memory too. That’s why people train equines to partake in a range of equestrian sports. Most events require an animal to perform a set of complicated moves like gallop or trot. In addition, horses tend to build an emotional bond with their equestrians. Equines can remember the trainer’s voice and distinguish it among others. Horses get used to their owners and create trustful relationships over time.
Due to such an impressive level of intelligence, dogs and horses are great companions for humans. They help us in a wide range of activities. Some four-legged pals service their human-beings throughout their lifetime.
Service dogs help people with disabilities. They can be trained to bring medicine, call for help, and more. Horses are involved in therapy classes called hippotherapy. It helps patients with physical and mental issues through petting and riding horses.
The bond through centuries
As we already mentioned, canines and equines are herd animals. Even though dogs, as predators, prone to attack, and horses, as prey, prone to run away, both species suppress their instincts. Nowadays, they can be great friends and live together.
There are dozens of examples of the ideal bond between dogs and horses. You can visit any ranch and face dogs and horses complementing each other. These animals are a crucial part of livestock management. While a man is on the horse, a dog is around herding the animals.
Another significant example is fox-hunting. Both four-legged companions help their owner to get the best prey. Thus, a dog-horse connection is ancient and even common in many regions.
Interaction through play
Canines and equines can not only live together but have fun together too! As they’re sociable creatures, dogs can find a common ground with horses through play-time.
Every dog owner agrees that their pawed friends are into games. Canines’ behavior changes right away as soon as they hear the invitation. Tail wagging and front leg bowing are common signs of excitement.
Horses act the same way as dogs when playing around. That’s why they can easily have fun together. Such animals mirror each other behavior and expressions. Even though horses are much bigger, dogs feel quite confident when fooling around hooved pals.
Therefore, canines can bond with equines through play. Having fun together is beneficial for the species. Young individuals improve their socializing when playing, while adult animals find it relaxing. Such assumption is true to humans too.
Can dogs and horses be best friends?
The answer is yes, it’s possible. Dogs and horses have lots of things in common. They are sociable animals who understand how to interact with each other. The bond between canines and equines has been strengthened since domestication. Today the species can co-exist together with no problems.
Similar behavior of dogs and horses gives them an opportunity to become real friends. The animals can feel friendly intentions and respond positively. No wonder why millions of people around the world own such intelligent and outgoing creatures.